The last 40 ka tephrostratigraphic record of Lake Ohrid, Albania and Macedonia: a very distal archive for ash dispersal from Italian volcanoes

B. Wagner, R. Sulpizio*, G. Zanchetta, S. Wulf, M. Wessels, G. Daut, N. Nowaczyk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A 1075 cm long core (Lz1120) was recovered in the south-eastern part of the Lake Ohrid (Republics of Macedonia and Albania) and sampled for identification of tephra layers. Magnetic susceptibility investigations show rather high magnetic values throughout the core, with peaks unrelated to the occurrence of tephra layers but instead to the relative abundance of detrital magnetic minerals in the sediment. Naked-eye inspection of the core allowed us to identify of two tephra layers, at 896-897 cm and 1070-1075 cm. Laboratory inspection of the grain-size fraction > 125 μm allowed for the identification of a third cryptotephra at 310-315 cm. Major element analyses on glass shards of the tephra layers at 896-897 cm and 1070-1075 cm show a trachytic composition, and indicate a correlation with the regionally dispersed Y-3 and Y-5 tephra layers, dated at ca 30 and 39 cal ka BP. The cryptotephra at 310-315 cm has a mugearitic-benmoreitic composition, and was correlated with the FL eruption of Mt. Etna, dated at 3370 ± 70 cal yr BP. These ages are in agreement with five 14C AMS measurements carried out on plant remains and macrofossils from the lake sediments at different depths along the core. The recognition of distal tephra from Italian volcanoes allows us to link the Lake Ohrid succession to other archives located in the Mediterranean area and in eastern Europe. The benmoreitic-mugearitic tephra layer at 310-315 cm is the first recognition in the Balkan area of a distal ash deposit from a mid-intensity explosive eruption of Mt. Etna, as far as 600 km from the source.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Issue number1
Early online date14 Sept 2007
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2008


  • Albania/Macedonia
  • Italian volcanoes
  • Lake Ohrid
  • tephrochronology
  • tephrostratigraphy

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